As such, they’re not only a solid choice for gamers and gaming enthusiasts (of course) but also for professionals who can benefit from these strengths, such as animators, programmers and graphic designers.
A gaming laptop is different than a regular laptop, MacBook or Chromebook. Gaming laptops are powerful machines designed especially to handle heavy usage, multitasking and graphic-intensive programs without a hitch.
Unlike gaming PCs, laptops designed for gaming are portable, packing optimal performance in a small and thin chassis that can sometimes weigh as little as 4 or 5 pounds. The upside is that a laptop allows you to move gaming sessions to a couch or a friend’s house, instead of being limited to a desk where your PC is plugged in. Additionally, while gaming laptops might not be as customizable as desktops, they’re still upgradable since in most cases you can install more memory and storage.
Gaming laptop buying guide
Gaming laptops have distinctly futuristic designs and higher-end components compared to regular laptops. As a result, they can perform faster and withstand the heat caused by graphics-intensive tasks.
This is why the prices tend to be higher. Whereas standard laptops are priced starting at a few hundred dollars, gaming laptops usually range from $1,000 to a little over $4,000. Nonetheless, it’s possible to find budget-friendly models that offer a decent gaming experience for about $800.
Here are some factors to consider when shopping for a gaming laptop:
• GPU. When it comes to gaming laptops, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) or graphics card is the first thing you should consider.
Because most games are graphics-dependent and GPUs aren’t easily upgraded, it’s very important that you get a gaming laptop with a powerful GPU. Ideally, the graphics card will be capable of playing games at high settings for several years.
There are two big GPUs names out there: NVIDIA and AMD. Most gaming laptops feature NVIDIA graphic cards. Just like we recommended with gaming desktops, if you want your graphics-intensive games, like Cyberpunk 2077, to look and sound phenomenal, it’s best to pick a 20-series or 30-series NVIDIA card (GeForce RTX). However, if you just want a decent enough gaming experience to play strategy games like Civilization, you might be fine with more affordable options such as AMD Radeon and NVIDIA’s GTX line. • CPU. The central processing unit (CPU) or processor is the brain of a computer. It handles all the background operations that don’t involve graphics and ultimately determines whether your games run without lagging or pixelation.
We recommend getting one of the latest, more powerful processors such as Intel’s 10th or 11th generation, with at least six or eight cores, or AMD Ryzen 5000 series chips. • Display. Most computers these days feature high-definition (HD) screens. However, you might still want to pay attention to the refresh rate. Measured in hertz (Hz), this rate lets you know how many times per second it can draw a new image on the screen.
This is particularly important if you’re going to play fast-paced games, such as first-person shooters like Overwatch and Call of Duty, because it prevents image delay and overlapping frames. Most gaming laptops already have 120Hz or 240Hz displays, which should be fast enough for most users, but if you want a cutting-edge display you can go for a refresh rate of 300Hz or more.
Or, as an alternative, if you’re planning on connecting your laptop to an external monitor, you may consider getting just the most basic refresh rate available and investing the extra money on a top-quality monitor. • Memory. Ample Random Access Memory or RAM is essential too, especially if you plan on running multiple apps and play at the same time. You should at least get 8GB of RAM. However, if you’re a hardcore gamer or multitasker, go for 16GB or 32GB.
• Storage. Our advice is to get a gaming laptop with a solid-state drive or SSD, rather than a hard drive (HDD). A laptop with SSD storage reduces stutters and is faster, meaning it takes less time to launch and load games. Since games take up a lot of space, consider getting at least one Terabyte (TB) of storage space. And, because storage can be easily upgraded later on, check if your laptop includes a free slot for adding a secondary SSD or hard drive
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